Friday, March 15, 2013
Week End Wrap Up (03.15.13): 778 Park Avenue
The brutally swank building was originally designed by much lauded and applauded pre-war architect Rosario Candela, a man who really understood how filthy rich folks wanted to lived when they moved from mansions to urban apartment houses. Howevuh, hunties, most of the drop dead swellegant original architectural details Mister Candela is known for—think wedding cake moldings, thick window surrounds, pedimented doorways—have been mostly if not entirely stripped from the apartment in favor of a more austere environment that compliment's the sellers' rather impressive collection of name brand contemporary art.
Current listing information shows the roomy but hardly humongous urban aerie has a private elevator landing, a 600-square foot living room with 11-foot ceilings, three proper bedrooms and three wonderfully windowed bathrooms (plus an unusually spacious staff room and windowed bathroom), two fireplaces (in the dining room and library), a three room kitchen suite (butler's pantry, kitchen and separate but adjacent breakfast room), five terraces (plus one Juliet balcony) and—a feature Your Mama loves like the dickens—a walk-in wet bar in the cozy corner library.
While the apartment is undeniably spectacular and, generally speaking, remarkably and efficiently laid out it lacks for closet space—particularly in the master bedroom—and there does not appear to be a powder room. Guests who are unable to hold their water are, then, forced to traipse through one of the bedrooms or—heaven forfend—weave their way deep into the service quarters to use the staff bathroom.
Listing details indicate the apartment has been in the same family for 70 years and our brief and unscientific research indicates that, until her death at 99 earlier this year, the sumptuous if dated spread was owned by fairly low profile pulp and paper heiress, arts and culture patroness and generous philanthropist Celeste Gottesman Bartos and her second husband, architect Armand Phillip Bartos, who predeceased her by about seven years. Mister Bartos is best known, according to his January 2006 obit in the New York Times, as being (partially) responsible for the Shrine of the Book building "at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem built to house the Dead Sea Scrolls and other ancient manuscripts."
In addition to their art-filled Park Avenue apartment Mister and Missus Bartos maintained a supremely located 3.68 acre spread on Georgica Cove in East Hampton, a walled and gated compound in Santa Fe, N.M., and a villa at Round Hill, Jamaica.
Speaking of Santa Fe—as an unrelated aside—have y'all seen any of the few photos of the super-minimal equestrian and residential complex that Pritzker Prize-winning Japanese architect Tadao Ando designed for smoldering fashion world guru Tom Ford on his 24,000 acre ranch outside Santa Fe? Have mercy. The severe, uber-contemporary style will not appeal to anybody with a an architectural yen for the traditional but, holy damn hell butter beans, it's an architectural tour de force to be sure.
listing photos and floor plan: Sotheby's International Realty